scores absolute zero as prophecy. Chronologically the actual year 1984 stands in the middle of a two-decade period marked by the unprecedented collapse of authoritarian states and totalitarian regimes all across the political spectrum. The rise of democracy occurred on every continent and among all kinds of people, some of whom were considered good bets for such change and others who were not. From the end of the fascistic regimes of Franco and Salazar on the Iberian Peninsula in the mid 1970s, through the fall of Soviet Communism across Eastern Europe and in Russia itself; and from the emergence of peaceful elections in Central and Latin America to constitutional reform in South Africa, democratization has swept the globe.9
Alongside the global rise of television since the mid- 1970s there has occurred a parallel end to authoritarian and repressive regimes that is unique in history. Whether these two phenomena are linked causally is not the question here. It must be emphasized, however, that the global spread of television has nowhere meant the triumph of repressive governments. The boob tube, whatever else its failings, has not fostered the triumph of Big Brother. Keep in mind just when the Nazis and Communists flourished. Better the idiot box, whatever some may consider to be its shortcomings, than the idiot brigades!